Following on from one of my previous posts talking about Acupuncture I wanted to share with you a little bit about Meridians and Meridian points as these are what Acupuncturists work with and talk about.
The Chinese discovered the meridian system approximately 3000 years ago. Meridians are an energy force that can be felt but not seen. They can be described as channels of energy, or pathways through which energy moves through the body. They have been described as containing a free-flowing, colourless, non-cellular liquid that may be partly actuated by the heart.
These meridians have been measured and mapped using modern technological methods, electronically, thematically and radioactively. With practice, they can also be felt. There are specific acupuncture points along the meridians, upon which the practices of acupuncture,acupressure and reflexology are founded. In all these techniques, pressure is applied to specific points to clear blockages from the energy channels. These points are electromagnetic in character and consist of small, oval cells called Bonham corpuscles, which surround the capillaries in the skin, the blood vessels, and the organs throughout the body. There are some 500 points that are most frequently used by acupuncturists and therapists practising acupressure and reflexology; each point is worked upon in a definite sequence depending on the action desired.
Meridians are named by the life function with which they are associated. In most cases this name is similar to the name of a body organ with which we are familiar, for example, the liver meridian and the stomach meridian. Chinese physicians can detect imbalances in meridians by feeling the pulses, but this is a sensitive touch and it can take 10 to 20 years to develop proficiency with it.
Meridians are classified yin or yang on the basis of the direction in which they flow on the surface of the body. Meridians interconnect deep within the torso, but therapists work with the part that is on the surface and is accessible to touch techniques. Yang energy flows from the sun, and yang meridians run from the fingers to the face or from the face to the feet. Yin energy from the earth flows from the feet to the torso, and from the torso along the inside of the arms to the fingertips.
Since the meridian flow is actually one continuous unbroken flow, the energy flows in one definite direction, and from one meridian to another in a well-determined order. Since there is no beginning or end to this flow, the order of the meridians can be represented as a wheel. A blockage in any of the meridians will have a knock-on effect on all the other meridians.
When this energy flow in unrestricted, the body harmonises the flow to optimise body functioning. Sometimes, however, the life we lead and the abuses we heap upon our bodies cause stress, and sometimes the stress is so intense or so constant that, in effect, it overloads the circuit, and a blockage occurs this has an effect on all the other meridians.
The six main Meridians are those that actually penetrate major body organs
- Gall Bladder
The other six meridians are situated in the arms and do not actually penetrate specific organs
- Large Intestine
- Pericardium / Circulation
- Triple Warmer / Endocrine
- Small intestine
These 12 meridians can be subdivided into six main meridians that actually penetrate the major body organs and six other meridians that are situated in the arms and do not actually penetrate specific organs.
Closer study of the meridians reveals that the six main meridians are found in the feet, specifically the toes. Thus, massaging the feet is, in actual fact, stimulating and clearing congestion in the meridians. When congestion is cleared, energy is able to flow freely and the body is able to achieve a state of balance.